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Tuesday, 24 April 2007

fair trade ethics?

When I buy coffee and tea to use at home, I make a point of always buying fairly traded brands. When I make teas and coffees at work, I always use the fair trade option rather than the Nescafe. I pride myself on these choices.

Yet when I go to a coffee house in town, I never ask for fair trade coffee. I never really bother to buy fair trade chocolate as I prefer cheaper Cadburys that I used to eat as a kid. I don't buy fair trade bananas, or flowers, or in fact anything else.

Should I be hanging my head in shame instead of being proud of my fair trade coffee round at work?Probably.

I don't know about you, but its hard to be consistently ethical, even when I've decided that something is important. Its so easy to just buy the cheapest brand, or forget to ask for the better option. From now on, I'm going to try harder. I will be attempting to trade as fairly as possible. But when no fair trade product is available in the shop should I avoid the un-fair trade products or should I buy them anyway as surely some of the money goes to the third world producers?

Being an ethical shopper is certainly never easy for me.

3 comments:

giotto said...

Fair trade, like organic farming is a good marketing ploy, but I doubt it really helps the poor. For example see http://www.globalisationinstitute.org/blog/trade/fair-trade-is-a-fraud-20061211909/

plonkee said...

I too am not sure that it is of great benefit to the poor, but it is better than the alternative. And it makes a political point - that current trading arrangements are unfair.

Alicia said...

For those of you who are interested in the issue of Fair trade, there is a powerful documentary out called “Black Gold,” that documents the lives of Ethiopian coffee farmers and clearly demonstrates why all of us should be asking for Fair Trade coffee. The film was recently released in the theater but is now available to the public on DVD via California Newsreel. You can read more about the documentary or pick up a copy of it here at http://newsreel.org/